Trace Metals in High Elevation Forest Soils in Maine Sarah Hayes (firstname.lastname@example.org), Samantha Langley- Turnbaugh (email@example.com) Department of Environmental Science, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, Maine. INTRODUCTION
Sarah Hayes (firstname.lastname@example.org), Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh (email@example.com)
Department of Environmental Science, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, Maine
Trace metals in mountain ecosystems of the northeastern United States have received considerable attention in recent years as researchers examine the effects of atmospheric deposition on the health and function of forests.1,2,3,4 High elevation soils are particularly sensitive to changes in atmospheric chemistry due to higher deposition of pollutants by wet and dry deposition, interception of wet cloud moisture, the formation of rime ice, and the tenacity of highly organic soils to retain metals. Forest floor materials can accumulate trace metals due to the strong affinity of soil organic matter for these metals.4,5 Studies by several authors suggest that trace metals may be accumulating at a rate of 20 to 30 mg/m2 yr in the Northeast and predict the amount of metals in these forest floors will double in 30 to 59 years.3,6 Trace metal input to soils may decrease phosphate availability, and several trace metals inhibit decomposition and essential ecosystem recycling processes.7,8 The purpose of this research project was to assess concentrations and spatial and temporal changes in trace metal concentrations on six mountains in Maine.
View from Bigelow Mountain’s West Peak (1263 m), showing an alpine
tundra community scattered amongst the rocky summit
Goose Eye Mountain
Map of Maine and sampled mountains
Goose Eye Bigelow
Old Speck White Cap
View of Flagstaff Lake and alpine tundra from Bigelow Mountain
nd = not detectable
Goose Eye Old Speck Saddleback Bigelow White Cap Katahdin
University of Southern Maine Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health
1Johnson, A.H., T.G. Siccama and A.J. Friedland. 1982. Spatial and temporal patterns of lead accumulation in the forest floor in the northeastern United States. J. Environ. Qual. 11:577-580
2Friedland, A.J., A.H. Johnson and T.G. Siccama. 1984. Trace metal content of the forest floor in the Green Mountains of Vermont; spatial and temporal patterns. Water Air Soil Pollut. 21:161-170
3Friedland, A.J., and A.H Johnson. 1985. Lead distribution and fluxes in a high elevation forest in northern Vermont. J. Environ. Qual. 14:332-336
4Moyse, D.W., and I.J. Fernandez. 1987. Trace metals in the forest floor at Saddleback Mountain, Maine in relation to aspect, elevation, and cover type. Water Air Soil Pollut. 34:385-397
5Brummer, G., and U. Herms. 1982. Effects of accumulation of air pollutants in forest ecosystems. In B. Ulrich and J. Pankrath (eds). D. Reidel Publ. Co., Boston, MA, p.233.
6Andresen, A.M., A.H. Johnson and T. Siccama. 1980. Levels of lead, copper, and zinc in the forest floor in the northeastern US. J. Environ. Qual. 9:293-296.
7Ekenler, M., and M.A. Tabatabai. 2002. Effects of trace elements on beta-glucosaminidase activity in soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 34:1829-1832.
8Kaste, J.M., B.C. Bostocik, A.J. Friedland, A.W. Schroth and T.G. Siccama. 2006. Speciation of gasoline-derived lead in organic horizons of the northeastern USA. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 70:1688-1698
9Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp5-c7.pdf
10SSL—US Environmental Protection Agency, Soil Screening Guidance, May 1996